Democrats hope to start their journey back to the majority by taking the late Rep. Bill Young's seat in Florida this March, in a district that twice voted for President Obama.
Up in New York, meanwhile, the 27-year-old same-sex husband of a Facebook cofounder is looking to channel the energy -- and the money -- of the Obama era into a Democratic pickup.
Democratic defense will define the year as well. In Arizona, one of Gabby Giffords' aides who was also injured in the shooting will try to hang on to the seat he barely secured in 2012. He might run against the same retired fighter pilot who almost beat him last time.
In New Hampshire, a House seat that's flipped party hands three times in the last four elections -- catching the national waves of 2006, 2010 and 2012 -- might get a rare third-in-a-row matchup between the incumbent and a former congressman.
There's another former member of Congress now living in New Hampshire, just maybe to run for Senate again: Scott Brown, best known for his pickup truck and the fact that he stole Ted Kennedy's Senate seat from the Democrats -- in Massachusetts.
|As always, competing visions of government will be on the line.|
In the category of familiar names, Michelle Nunn -- former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn's daughter -- is trying to reclaim a Deep South Senate seat where her best ally may be tea party-infused chaos on the Republican side.
Speaking of the tea party, activists from Alaska to Idaho to Mississippi and South Carolina are in search for GOP primary victories. Democrats stand ready to exploit the same GOP divisions that cost Republicans seats in 2010 and 2012.
As always, competing visions of government will be on the line.
The president's vow to make 2014 a "year of action" will rub against Republicans' efforts to steer Washington back their way. Big money groups are primed to play larger and earlier roles, in more campaigns and more directions than ever.
Democrats will be struggling for an identity to carry them forward in a post-Obama age. Hanging over them will be the new health care law that almost all of them supported -- with dynamics set to play out even as the campaigns do.
Demography is ultimately destiny, and Democrats are trying to push up the timeline of when they can hope to compete for victories in GOP strongholds like Georgia and Texas. Action -- or lack thereof -- on Obama priorities including immigration reform and gun control will be felt from California and Arizona to New Hampshire and Florida.
2014 will write the latest chapter in the American journey. Hang on for the ride.